By Juliano Oliveira
The National Budget of 2021–22 delivered yesterday by the Federal Government foresees the use of $3.4 billion for the implementation and improvements in women’s safety, economic, health and wellbeing politics.
In a year in which high-profile cases against women came to the surface and that are still pending a response, Minister for Women, Senator the Hon Marise Payne, outlined the “responsibility to address gender imbalances in Australia to create real change and genuine advances for women and girls.”
The Australian Women’s Package has been built upon three areas: $1.1 billion in funding for safety; $1.9 billion to support economic security, including $1.7 billion to improve childcare affordability for families and $351.6 million in women’s health and wellbeing measures.
As part of the funding destined for actions toward domestic violence, a new two-year National Partnership Agreement between states and Federal Government will provide up to $261.4 million to boost local frontline services and trial new initiatives.
An Escaping Violence Payments will also be established as a plan to provide up to $1,500 in immediate cash and a further $3,500 in-kind for goods or direct payments of bonds, school fees or other items.
Women and children experiencing family and domestic violence will be funded with $12.6 million through the expansion of the Safe Places emergency accommodation program.
$31.6 million will be invested over five years to establish an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Personal Safety Survey conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).
“This will enable us, for the first time, to measure the prevalence of family, domestic and sexual violence experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and girls. We will also commit funding to establish a new Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Council,” Minister for Families and Social Services and Minister for Women’s Safety, Senator the Hon Anne Ruston, said.
The law system will take more than $400 million to ensure victim-survivors of family violence are protected and assisted. These measures include $129.0 million in additional legal assistance funding to women’s legal centres to help women access justice.
An additional $9.3 million is set to implement recommendations made in the Respect@Work report regarding workplace measures, especially pushing amendments to improve legal and regulatory responses to workplace sexual harassment.
The Women’s Leadership and Development Program has also been included in the budget plan by receiving $38.3 million over five years from 2021-22. This program funds innovative projects, many of which assist women into leadership roles.
In the health field, the Government is investing in new and amended PBS listings to treat various conditions, including breast cancer. The Government is also investing $148.0 million in women’s preventive health measures to reduce ill-health’s personal and financial costs further.